The theme of Peter Drucker's new book, Managing in a Time of Great Change (Dutton, 1995), is summed up nicely in the preface, where the author explains that the two interviews and 25 chapters to follow "all deal with changes that have already irreversibly happened. They therefore deal with changes on which executives can -- indeed must -- take action. None of the pieces in this book attempts to predict the future. All deal with what executives can do -- have to do -- to make the future."

This is Drucker at his best, illuminating in a page, a paragraph, a sentence, what has eluded even the ablest management thinkers, on topics that confront -- and confound -- us every day: managing in the absence of traditional authority, planning in the midst of uncertainty, managing intercompany relationships not based on ownership, making teams work by understanding why they fail so often, identifying your organization's true core competence. The list goes on and on. For many Inc. readers I know, chapter 3 -- "The Five Deadly Business Sins" -- alone is worth the price of the book. The first three of Drucker's "deadly sins" relate to pricing, which probably kills more small businesses than all other causes combined.

So, if you're interested in what the future might hold for you and your company, go out and buy something by Toffler or Naisbitt. But if you just want to do a better job of dealing with the changes the past decade has already wrought, this is the book for you.

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